Sunday, August 23, 2020

Not, ... An Itsy Bitsy Spider!


Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle

Friday, August 24, 1894

Page 7



Mystery of the Fourteenth 

Arrondissement of Paris


Singular disappearances of Many Inhabitants

of the Quarter - Enticing its victims With Music -

Death of the Gigantic Spider.

For many years it is undeniably stated

that in the fourteenth arrondisement

of Paris - called the tomb of Issoir-

a number of persons living in that 

quarter had mysteriously and periodically

disappeared. The most careful 

researches, the most minute inquires, the

most skillful agents of the Police had

failed to discover the least trace of them.

Every year successively some inhabitants

of this quarter would suddenly disappear,

leaving their friends overwhelmed with 

grief and anxiety.  It is 

also stated that these strange, inexplicable

 facts always occurred in the early spring -

from the 20th to the last of March- and

without regard to age or sex.

First a notary disappeared. It was

thought he had used his client's funds

and fled to parts unknown. then an old

woman, returning late one night from 

Market, was the next victim, then a laborer

going home from work.  The last 

victim had been a young girl - a flower maker

out late delivering her goods.

From that ime she had as completely

disappeared as if the earth had opened 

up and swallowed her up. Strange to say,

10 children had been among the victims.

This peculiar fact was accounted for

 in this way. These mysterious disappearances

always occurred late at night, 

when children were at home asleep.

As the time was drawing near for one

of these periodical mysteries the Chief

 of Police became anxious and 

instituted a strict surveillance, confiding

the matter to a number of the most skillful

of his assistants, hoping the combined 

efforts of so may zealous agents

would surely be crowned with success.

You will now see the result.

One night - this fact can be verified

by applying to the office of the prefecture -

a policeman about 3 o' clock in the 

morning heard a distant musical song,

which seemed to come from the bowel's

of the earth. He listened and fancied

the sounds came from an opening in the

center of the street, at the foot of an 

enormous rock called the Tomb of

Issoir, or the giant's cave.

It may be interesting to state that this

rock derived its name from a legend

that a great giant had been buried there

many years before the Christian era,

and this rock had been placed there to

mark the tomb.  

Surprised at this strange discovery --

for the opening had never been noticed 

before -- the policeman waited, listening

 to this peculiar song, when he suddenly

saw a young man approaching.  He knew 

from his his costume that he was a

countryman lately arrived in the city.

This young man also seemed to hear

the subterranean sounds, first walking

slowly with a peculiar wavering step,

as if in cadence with the musical chant, 

then faster and faster as he drew near

the fatal rock, until he ran with such 

velocity that in spite of the warning

cries of the policeman he was swallowed

up in this mysterious opening.  without

taking a moment to consider the 


recklessly followed, first bring

his revolver and giving one or two 

vigorous blasts on his whistle.

At this signal several of his comrades

quickly arrived.  The musical chanting 

had ceased, but they could hear in the 

dark, cavernous depths the muffled

sounds of a desperate struggle.

By the aid of ropes and ladders they

succeeded in entering this mysterious

chasm. The light of their lamps revealed

a sickening sight.

The countryman was lying on his

back writhing in the grasp of an 

unknown monster, whose horrible aspect

froze the agents of police with terror.

It was as large as a full grown terrier,

covered with wart like protuberances

and bristling with coarse brownish

 hair. Eight jointed legs, terminated

by formidable claws, were buried in the

 body of the unfortunate victim.  The

face had already disappeared. 

Nothing could be seen but the top of the head,

and the monster was now engaged in

tearing and sucking the blood from his


As soon as they recovered from their

horror and surprise a dozen balls struck

the body of this sanguinary beast.

He raised up on his legs, a greenish

bloody liquid flowing from his wounds

and with a frightful cry, expired.

The first policeman who had given

the alarm, was lying unconscoius in one 

corner of the cavern, where he had fallen, 

a distance of 30 feet.

It was with great difficulty they succeeded

in removing the tow bodies and

the unknown monster from the cavern.

The poor countryman was dead,but the

policeman was restored to life.

The agents immediately sent for the 

commissioner of police, who summoned

a naturalist in great haste.

The first established the identity of

the victim; the second declared the 

creature lying before him was a gigantic

spider. The species had been considered 

extinct for centuries - ever since

the days of the deluge.  It was called

"Arachne gigans" and was said to have

peculiar musical song. None had been

seen or heard of for ages., but it is now 

believed some of these sanguinary

beasts still exist in the deepest galleries

of the catacombs.

The dead body of the spider was 

conveyed to the Museum of Natural History,

where it was carefully prepared

and stuffed and is now on exhibition --

Once a week.  

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